Say what needs to be said

When delivered in a constructive way, difficult feedback can be the most helpful thing.

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I often hear about how difficult it is for people to say what they have to say when they imagine it’s going to be difficult for the other person to hear.

First of all, how do we know what’s difficult for someone to hear?

Second of all, how do we imagine having closeness and authenticity in our relationships if we don’t say what we have to say?

To me, the question is not Do I say it, but What’s the best way to say it?

A couple of days ago, I had turn down an offer someone made me that he thought was in the bag. I started with the kind and polite: “I have decided to not hire you for the job. I wish you the best of luck.” He responded that he would be very grateful if I could share my reasons. I was tempted to keep it on the surface, but it occurred to me I would be more helpful if I told him exactly what made me go from warm to cold. I did. I didn’t gaslight. I was kind but direct. I put on my big girl pants and asked myself what I could say to him that would be true but in a way that was constructive. I told him that the quality of what he sent me was sub-par based on what he had promised me. I told him that something he said made me question if our values were aligned. I told him I thought his price was too high for what I thought was market value. He thanked me for being honest and said he admired my ability to trust my gut.

Sharing what’s difficult to share is an art. It means putting on my creative hat. My compassionate hat. It is difficult, but it excites me. To do it well, so the person across the table not only doesn’t get hurt by it but is uplifted and inspired … that’s fairy dust on the cake.

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